When KTM bought Husqvarna in 2013, it wasn’t clear how the Austrian model would place Husky in its lineup. 4 years later, because the 701 and Vitpilen 401 fashions and the Svartpilen 401 are formally unveiled in manufacturing kind at this 12 months’s EICMA, it looks like KTM has taken a web page from the automotive world, casting Husqvarna as its extra design-centric, “unique” mannequin line. Does that imply Husqvarna is to KTM as Lexus is to Toyota (or Audi is to VW, to maintain it extra Teutonic)?
The analogy doesn’t fairly maintain up within the particulars, nevertheless it does assist body Husqvarna as extra of a boutique model, which can placate these lusting after the Swedish roadsters once they uncover the costs are greater than their KTM cousins, as we suspect they are going to be.
Greater than that, it permits Kiska Design, the studio answerable for KTM’s and Husqvarna’s placing aesthetics, to discover methods to enchantment to completely different shoppers than the traditional KTM goal. I’ll use myself for instance. I’ve all the time been drawn to the 690 Duke for its technical prowess, its large single-cylinder engine, and its sweet-handling chassis, however I haven’t been in a position to get previous its dust bike-y seems to be. Truly, one thing about its stance jogs my memory of a futuristic Buell Blast, which isn’t a praise.
Nevertheless, when dressed because the Husqvarna Vitpilen 701, I’m fully bought (having not but seen it within the flesh, after all). Fairly than dissembling its fashionable tech in retro garments, as is so commonplace nowadays, the Vitpilen unabashedly modernizes a well-known kind issue, creating its personal id regardless of its shared parts. It’s Mid-Century fashionable design at its Swedish greatest.
Certainly, the Vitpilen and Svartpilen are primarily the identical as their KTM donors: identical engines, trellis frames, WP suspension, and many others. It is going to be attention-grabbing to see if the 2 manufacturers change into extra differentiated sooner or later, past merely model. Nonetheless, if the bike trade’s makes an attempt at attracting new riders stretch the boundaries of design, that’s a win for all of us, particularly if it truly succeeds.
In 2016, Husqvarna’s gross sales grew 43 %, which is great given the considerably ailing state of the bike trade. With the introduction of the Vitpilen and Svartpilen, we’d enterprise to say that 2018 shall be a fantastic 12 months for the revived Swedish model, motorcycling’s Lexus or not.
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